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Jurassic Park: Ultimate Trilogy blu ray...simply DINO-mite...
on October 26, 2011
All three films arrived at blu ray with VC-1 1080p 1.85:1 encode. I watched these films with 2 trepidations. Firstly, Universal has a bad track record of lousy remastering, like excessive use of DNR (Digital Noise Reduction). Secondly, the films were remastered using the more primitive VC-1 encode, which in some circle is considered as the Rodney Dangerfield of video compression techniques. More recent films usually used MPEG-4.
While Terminator 2: Judgment Day might have introduced audiences around the world to the possibilities of computer-generated effects, it was Steven Spielberg's 1993 smash Jurassic Park that truly revolutionised modern cinema. Seamlessly mixing CG visuals and life-size models, this movie convinced audiences around the world that dinosaurs still walked the Earth, and in the process transformed the visual effects industry almost overnight. In Jurassic Park 1, many of the dinosaurs are life size animatronics. Close ups are generally animatronics while full body shots are mostly CG. The effect of this is that it gives a weight and presence that can often be absent from CGI.
I am glad to report that all three films bristle with fine detail, and the CGI elements look especially fantastic in that regard. CGI skins of the dinosaurs all look absolutely crystal clear, and the scales and reptilian textures on many of them are virtually tangible.
Jurassic Park: There is a thick grain pattern, which made the picture more film-like. There are fine details, like Sir Richard Attenborough's white hair and beard. The colour reproduction is excellent and vibrant showing off the greens of the island's foliage and the bold red and yellow of the Jurassic Park branding. DNR, if done, is not intrusive. (3.5/5)
Jurassic Park: The Lost World: This movie features a much more muted colour palette and a more refined grain structure, both of which help to serve up a slightly improved picture experience over its predecessor. Delineation is clearer throughout the film, and detailing never really feels obscured by the grain structure. (4.0/5)
Jurassic Park III: Jurassic Park III features the strongest of the encodes.The disc's fine grain combined with the generally brighter, clearer and sharper visuals (real and CG) register increased detailing and vibrancy throughout the film. (4.5/5)
All three films come in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, which is all reference quality and truly electrifying. All three film's mixes sport brilliant fidelity, with absolutely incredible dynamic range, fulsome low end (with some absolutely wall shattering LFE courtesy of little dinosaur footsteps in the night and some great dinosaur roars), with well prioritized dialogue, effects and that anthemic John Williams score.
Equally impressive in all three films is the incredible attention to detail with regard to Foley effects, some of which being almost hilariously brilliant (the little clicking noise the velociraptors' claws make on the kitchen floor in the first film is a great example). Directionality is also spot on throughout all three films, and each film is awash in fantastic panning effects, especially when one of the dinosaurs lumbers into view. But even in more subtle moments, we get some incredibly smart use of the surround channels. About halfway through Jurassic Park III, for example, Macy and Leoni wander off stage left and their voices clearly travel with them, even when the main action is still anchored in front of us. Again and again throughout all three films "little" moments like this help elevate the film's sonic majesty as much as the humongous effects surrounding the dinosaurs do. (All three films: 5/5)
Jurassic Park I won three Oscars: Best Sound Effects Editing (Gary Rydstrom and Richard Hymms), Best Effects, Visual Effects and Best Sound. It has a budge of $63 million, and the Worldwide Box Office Receipt was a cool $919 million. And did you know that the glass of water sitting on the dash of the Ford Explorer was made to ripple using a guitar string that was attached to the underside of the dash beneath the glass?
Jurassic Park: The Lost World was nominated for Oscar in Best Effects, Visual Effects. Its budget was $73 million, while its Worldwide gross was $614 million. And if you watch really very carefully, you will see that when the T-Rex bites the traffic signal in San Diego, a street sign on the right edge of the screen reads in part "NO DINOSAURS".
Jurassic Park III had a budget of $93 million, but grossed only $363 million. The Spinosaurus was the largest animatronic ever built. It weighed 12 tons and was operated by hydraulics. This allowed it to operate while completely submerged in water. The effects crew used 250 gallons of oatmeal to simulate Spinosaur droppings.
In summary, Jurassic Park I is a classic and a must-own, but the other two are also entertaining. Both the video and audio are great, although the video is not top-notched. But it really doesn't matter when you start to watch the films. You will be totally immersed in the journey of the actors/actresses in the world of dinosaurs. It is a fun and exciting thrill-ride. After all these years, there are moments that still startled me, making me to jump up from the chair (e.g., while digging a hole underneath the fence trying to escape, the face of the dinosaur suddenly appeared from the other side of the fence!). It is total enjoyment for the whole family. Stop picking at the small deficiencies, but simply just sit back and enjoy the exciting ride. This Jurassic Park Trilogy is truly DINO-mite. Highly recommended.
Finally, I notice that Amazon.ca has a tendency to put many standard DVD reviews in the blu ray section, thus it may create confusion among readers, thinking that they are reading the blu ray review. Be careful, read the date and title of the review beforehand, so that you don't waste your precious time.